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June 29, 2012

Nellis lights the way for energy conservation

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By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Electricians atop a lift install new lighting fixtures into a hangar at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 20, 2012. The hanger lighting is being replaced with more energy efficient lighting in an effort to reduce Nellis energy use by 30 percent as of fiscal year 2015.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis Air Force Base, in a continuing effort to promote energy efficiency, is replacing the lighting in several aircraft hangars with more efficient fixtures.

“The hangar project was identified in a 2010 energy audit funded by Air Combat Command,” said Jeff Blazi, Nellis Energy Manager.

The 2010 energy audit prompted eight new projects to make Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range more energy efficient. The hangar lighting project is one of these.

“Typically energy conservation projects need to meet two criteria in order to become a viable project,” Blazi explained.

Energy conservation projects must meet both Simple Pay Back and Savings to Investment Ratio criteria.

“The SPB must be less than 10 years for projects,” Blazi said. “This means the project energy savings must pay for the costs of the project in less than 10 years.

“The second criteria, Savings to Investment Ratio, must be greater than one,” he said. “This means the project savings over the lifespan of the project must exceed the initial investment costs. For example, if the light fixtures reach the end of their useful life before the project pays for itself, then it is not a viable project.”

Per the 2010 energy audit, the lighting project has a SPB of five and a SIR of 2.3, which passes both energy conservation tests. In plain English, this means the new lighting will pay for itself in five years with cost savings, and will eventually save the base almost two-and-a-half times the cost of the project before the new equipment wears out.

The lighting project is predicted to reduce Nellis energy usage by 1,800 Million British Thermal Units, which translates to a savings of $42,000 per year. That money saved helps Nellis meet the criteria of reducing its energy consumption by three percent annually to meet Air Force policy targets.

Since the policy began in 2003, Nellis has been successful in meeting that goal. If the base continues this trend, it will reach the program’s ultimate goal of cumulatively reducing its energy use by 30 percent as of fiscal year 2015.

The new lighting system will use a six lamp T-5 high output fluorescent fixture, a mature technology, instead of using the still-evolving LED lighting.

The lighting project is an ongoing project that will be in place in six hangars within two months.

“I believe this project will be a big success for Nellis,” Blazi said. “Not only will we save energy and money, but the new lighting will meet or exceed the brightness of the existing lighting, improving the working conditions for Nellis Airmen.”




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